Davis & Elkins hosts appreciation dinner

Davis & Elkins College hosted an appreciation dinner for teachers and principals April 16 at Hallihurst Hall.

The educators have worked with college students in the local Professional Development School collaborative, which was organized by the Kump Education Center to increase communication between local public schools and private colleges and to help focus attention on best teaching practices and greater school effectiveness.

Sue Talbott serves as PDS coordinator for the Kump Education Center. She begins with PDS collaborative meetings early in the school year, and helps to increase accountability on clinical practice assignments for D&E teacher candidates. She also serves as an adjunct instructor at the college in the teaching of reading. Next year, she will be employed full-time at D&E, and the Kump Center may be able to expand the PDS program into more Randolph County Schools.

Currently the PDS liaisons are Liz Marshall-MacVean at Elkins High, Rich Leitner at Elkins Middle, Beth Cooper at Midland Elementary and Carol Losh at Third Ward. The Kump Center sponsors Patty Gow, who serves as tutorial coordinator at Third Ward Elementary.

At the dinner PDS liaisons reported on new initiatives in their schools. Elkins High School has done away with homeroom meetings. Instead faculty members meeting every other week with assigned students for academic advising. On the off weeks, students are required to join organizations and attend meetings.

D&E College students were particularly helpful at Elkins Middle with Techsteps, and the college students were at EMS early in the morning to open the school store. At Midland Elementary, new Kagan cooperative teaching methods help students to work together in a structured and positive pattern. Students and parents at Third Ward Elementary have enjoyed the involvement of D&E College students in Math and Reading Night.

During the course of the school year, Davis & Elkins College students spent thousands of hours as observers, tutors and student teachers in the public schools. The PDS liaisons logged and monitored student hours in the Professional Development Schools, making sure the students were in placements that were suitable to their educational needs and that they performed the duties they were assigned. The increased collaboration between college faculty and public school made these clinical experiences more productive.

Patty Gow recommended The First Day of School as a gift from Kump Center to each of the D&E student teachers. Sue Talbott asked for an anonymous donation from a private donor to fund the purchase of these books. The Kump Education Center PDS Collaborative will continue to seek meaningful ways to implement programs that develop the leadership skills of students and bring innovative opportunities to public school students and teachers.